Setting the scene: biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Asia-Pacific region

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The Asia-Pacific region is bio-geographically one of the most diverse and rich regions in the world (well established). It has numerous endemic species and more global biodiversity hotspots (16) and megadiverse countries (7) than any other region of the world (well established). The Asia-Pacific region is particularly rich in marine and costal biodiversity due to innumerable islands and an extensive coastline that contain highly diverse coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves (well established). Terrestrial species endemism is also high, particularly on some the region’s islands (well established). The Asia-Pacific region has extremely high sociocultural diversity, containing the largest population of indigenous people in the world and some of the most extensive indigenously managed landscapes and seascapes (well established). Indigenous and local communities across the region have distinct traditions, languages, knowledge and practices that have helped them maintain a harmonious coexistence with Nature for generations (established but incomplete). The Asia-Pacific region contains more than 60 per cent of the total global population, 52 per cent of the global poor and is undergoing rapid urbanization and economic transformation (well established). Many countries have experienced rapid and sustained economic growth for decades, elevating millions of people out of poverty, but often at the cost of the region’s biodiversity (well established).

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